Benchmark Hospitality International is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers. Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in desirable destinations.
Scalability issues present a need for change
The ability to scale information technology (IT) infrastructure based on growth, future needs and operations is critical for any business, but is especially important for Benchmark Hospitality International. Because Benchmark manages resorts, hotels and conference centers, acquiring new customers requires the company to rapidly scale its infrastructure to keep the properties up and running 24/7 with additional power and storage needed to meet catering, staffing and reservation information needs.
However, Benchmark’s IT systems were aging and running out of CPU and memory. As the company continued to grow, this scalability issue began to cause outages and eventually brought Benchmark to a point where adding new customers to the cloud, something that provided them with the flexibility to successfully run the business, was a major undertaking.
When Anthony Gaeta joined Benchmark Hospitality as the vice president of IT, it didn’t take long to realize there was a scalability issue that needed immediate attention. He quickly learned that the budget allocated to purchase new hardware was maxed out. In addition, the company’s lean IT staff was overextended and spending valuable time resolving the resulting performance problems and maintenance issues.
Benchmark needed the ability to scale quickly, significantly increase uptime and free up staff – all without making large capital investments in infrastructure or additional personnel. In search of a solution, Anthony was introduced to Flexential by its partners Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking, and CDW, one of the nation’s largest retailers for computers, software and electronics.
A hybrid IT solution yields efficient operations
Unlike the other cloud providers Benchmark had considered, Flexential was able to provide the company with a hybrid model that would best meet the need to leverage its existing hardware investment, along with a cloud service. The combination of a cloud computing solution and managed services, including firewall and server management, as well as data protection, alleviated capital expense pressure and gave Benchmark the expertise and additional infrastructure it needed to operate efficiently.
Benchmark leaned on Flexential to help quickly upgrade from standard to high performance storage for its hotel data and records. Additionally, Flexential worked closely with Anthony and his team to help navigate through the telecommunications process and mitigate potential problems with networking between the two data center environments during the cloud migration.
“Flexential worked with us and devised a hybrid IT model that allowed our legacy hardware and systems to interface with Flexential’s private cloud. We were able to pick up our virtual environment and move it into Flexential’s Cool Springs data center, which minimized downtime for our properties and eased our migration fears,” explained Anthony.
The Flexential team came to the table with ideas and solutions that were phenomenal, and completely alleviated any migration concerns we had.”
Benchmark’s IT team was able to work alongside Flexential to duplicate the servers in its old data center to ensure zero downtime for customers.
“After each server was duplicated, we literally flipped a switch and were live in Flexential’s data center. It was that easy,” explained Anthony. Over the course of one month, Benchmark moved 90 servers over to Flexential.
Hotel’s IT infrastructure now operating as well-oiled machine
Hospitality businesses, such as Benchmark and its hotels, are under constant pressure to cut costs while operating seamlessly and offering the ultimate guest experience. With Flexential, Benchmark Hospitality reduced costs, increased flexibility, enhanced the guest experience and provided its properties with a competitive advantage through more efficient operations and business processes.
The hybrid IT solution Flexential delivered to Benchmark Hospitality helped the company meet business goals. The ability to provide each property with the infrastructure and bandwidth needed to effectively run the business has made a significant impact on both Benchmark Hospitality and its customers.
Today, Benchmark has the systems and infrastructure to rapidly scale and grow as needed. When a new property is added to the Benchmark portfolio, Anthony’s team simply logs into the Flexential portal, configures the server and has the property up and running in a matter of minutes. This saves both Benchmark and its properties a significant amount of time.
Due to the aging hardware Benchmark relied on before working with Flexential, downtime was a real issue. Since moving to Flexential, Benchmark properties are reporting better performance, faster connectivity for credit card processing and fewer interruptions. In fact, the company reduced its trouble ticket counts by almost 50 percent. In addition, relying on Flexential for the day-to-day management of IT operations and infrastructure freed up Benchmark’s IT staff to focus on initiatives that add value and drive revenue for the company.
“I consider Flexential a natural extension of our team,” said Anthony. “They are one of the best partners that we work with from support and guidance to expertise. Flexential is number one in my book.”